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Five Tips about Naps

Update Date: Aug 13, 2014 01:07 PM EDT

Even though naps are commonly associated with children, they can rejuvenate people of all ages. According to several studies, naps can help people stay alert while improving performance, creativity and concentration. However, different kinds of napping, which vary based on length and time of day, can yield different results.

Here are 5 ways to optimize a nap:

1. Factor in your Sleeping Schedule

According to one expert, Sara Mednick, Ph.D., who is the author of Take a Nap!, people who wake up earlier can benefit more from a nap earlier in the day. For example, people who wake up at 5 a.m. would benefit the most if they napped at 1 p.m. as opposed to a later time since they have been awake for a longer period of time. However, for people who wake up later, an afternoon nap would be ideal. There has been evidence suggesting that people tend to experience an afternoon slump regardless of when they wake up. By napping in the afternoon, people can boost their energy levels and combat that slump.

2. Prepare Ahead

For some people, scheduling a time frame to nap can be helpful. For example, people who plan on pulling an all-nighter might benefit from a nap first. A longer nap, which is considered to be two hours or more, can help improve fatigue as well as clarity. Napping after a night of being sleep deprived can make the body feel even more tired.

3. Safety First

Napping can also help with safety, particularly behind the wheel. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived have a greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel and getting into an accident. People who know that they have a long journey ahead of them would benefit if they napped prior to the drive. A 30-mintue nap could boost their alertness on the road.

4. Set up an Alarm

Setting an alarm can help people fall asleep. In some situations, a nap can last longer than expected. People who are afraid that they will oversleep and miss an event or deadline might have difficulty falling asleep. By setting an alarm, they can ease that anxiety.

"Setting an alarm is really helpful for napping," said Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, reported in HuffPost. "It can be hard to fall asleep if you are worried about whether you will wake up at the right time. Setting an alarm takes the pressure off."

5. Find a Set Napping Place

For people who like to nap, finding the perfect napping location and setting can help the body relax at a faster rate. By identifying these factors, people do not have to worry about having difficulties falling asleep. If people generally have a hard time falling asleep, they can consider using meditation as a way to ease the body and mind into a resting state.

Overall, naps can help rejuvenate the body. So when your eyes are feeling a bit drowsy, set your alarm, and revitalize your body and mind by napping.

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